Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The Descendants (2011)
I watched The Descendants yesterday.
I liked it.
It takes a few minutes, especially during his voice-over beginning of the movie, for me to overcome waiting to see if this is going to be another one of George Clooney's beauty movies. In this movie his beauty does not carry the plot. I kinda like that kind of movies because he really is beautiful and it seems to me that because he has been like that for such a long, long time he somehow looks "more natural" in roles powered by his charm and good looks. But this is not that kind of movie.
The Descendants is real life drama. I have not seen real drama, good drama, made for a longest time. Filmmakers somehow went overboard with dramas lately, traversing hyperrealism and serving us with unnecessary private details without any meaning, l'art pour l'art-isticly and stupidly treading across any real emotion that could come out of movie experience for a viewer. But this movie is not like that.
The story keeps description to a minimum - sharing only details that life would serve us in a similar situation. Feelings are shown as they are; discreet, muffled, difficult to understand from both ends - to a protagonist and spectator both. There are no tractates on both sides of a story just fragments of truths, half-truths and blatant lies. To watch it gives an impression of watching real life play out in front of you.
George Clooney's acting is exquisite. He actually makes us believe this could be his life. "...backup parent. The understudy." he says in one voice-over and it FEELS GENUINE. Fervor in his realestate lawyer worktasks, silent despair in parenting tasks, anger smothered by decades of good manners - all this becomes him so oddly yet it rings so true. "Paradise can go fuck itself." resonates with living loss.
Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller both did a great job in their roles, more so by being so similar in their demeanor, expressiveness and non-verbal mood indicators as to make beliavable King family; sanguine yet composed, emotional yet deliberate - as royal family descendants ought to be.
Lastly, it is a movie of identification and comfort, movie that therapeutically shows us our own flaws and short comings and makes ways of resolving them not merely ostensible but real, true, authentic.